In February, 2002, I received a fax message from one of my clients in
, he had appointed me to carryout an investigation
to find the cause for the delay in arrival of a ship, under his charter, at Trincomalee. Singapore
The initial ETA had been 8.00 AM on the 10th of February but the vessel had arrived at 12.00 noon on the 11th of February, almost 28 hours later.
I, along with my senior assistant, left for Trincomalee and arrived there around 0930 hours on the 12th. On boarding the vessel we went straight to the Master’s cabin, and found that the door was closed. When I knocked, a person opened the door and said “I am the Captain. Who are you? What do you want?” I presented him my business card. He looked at it and asked me “What do you want, why are you here, what survey you got to do?” We were still standing at the entrance to his cabin. I said “Captain, I am here on behalf of your Charterers to investigate the delayed arrival of your vessel at Trincomalee.”
He started to shout and in that tone he said “What bloody delayed arrival are you talking about? I have no news from Charterers about your attendance!” Then I showed him the fax. He refused to look at it.
Then he called his Chief Officer and told him “Chief, do not give any information to this person and do not show any log books or other documents, and tell Chief Engineer the same thing too.”
I waited there for a few minutes and asked him, “Captain, can I take a round on the deck?” He said “OK, but do not wait for long” and shut the door.
It was very embarrassing, but I decided that I will only leave the ship with some results.
I went down with my assistant to the deck, and walked on the Starboard side towards the No 1 hatch. There I saw a young officer, wearing a blue overall and safety helmet. I assumed that it must have been the third or second officer, who usually does cargo watches. I went upto him and asked, “Are you the third officer?” He said “Yes.”
Then I asked him, “From where did this ship come, and where was this cargo loaded?”
He said, “At Makassar in
I told him, “I have heard about it. It’s supposed to be a nice place?”
At the same time, I saw two men, both in orange colour overalls doing some work in one of the winches in Derrick No 1.
The third officer said “ Yes, yes, it was a nice place. You know, my bosun spent all his salary there.”
I asked, “What about you? Did you not go out and have a good time?”
He said “ I went, but there was not much time. I had to come back for duty.”
We continued our conversation.
I said “So it was bad news, a young guy like you could not enjoy after going to a such nice place. What happened afterwards? What was the next port after
He said “After that, we went to
outer anchorage and waited for our Superintendent and some spares to arrive.” Singapore
I knew that I was getting somewhere.
While talking with the young third mate, I managed to collect a great deal of information as to the diversion and stoppage at sea to complete the repairs to No. 1 Derrick winch. Although they had completed the repairs, it had started giving trouble this morning, and the Superintendent who was ready to leave the vessel, had to stay back.
My assistant managed to take a few photographs of the repair work that was going on.
We got the necessary information, and I did not want to wait any longer onboard.
As we were walking towards the gangway, I saw the Captain waiting there. As we got closer he asked me “Oh, you are still here?” I said, “Yes, I have many friends because I come here very often” and I showed him the Head checker on duty from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
Now, he wanted to see the fax message and I showed it to him.
While handing it back to me he said, “Still I cannot give you any information as my owners have not granted me permission to do so.”
At this time I told the Captain, “It seems there is a misunderstanding somewhere, to my knowledge your owners are aware of my visit and the local agent confirmed that to me.”
I did not want to waste any time with him and said, “It is alright Captain, it was your decision not to even accept me to your cabin, leave aside giving us any information.” He just kept on staring at me as I was going down the gangway.
As soon as I came ashore I gave a fax message to
from the local agents
office, giving information about the
illegal diversion and stoppage at sea. I
also mentioned the Master’s attitude towards us and that the information
obtained was very reliable. Singapore
Once we gave this kind of information, the rest of it, could be worked out.
As far as we were concerned we had done the job and later sent the photographs too.